VULNERABLE village residents were unable to contact friends and family for more than a week after a phone blackout.
At least 10 homes in The Street, Beck Row, were unable to use their telephones for almost two weeks after a fault on a BT line.
The problem, which started on July 8, meant that some elderly residents were left without any means of communication.
William Snell, 74, who has suffered two heart attacks in recent years, criticised BT for the way they had dealt with the fault.
He said: “It’s really annoying and the worst thing is that BT won’t say what is actually going on.
“I’ve given up on trying to get in touch with them but how hard is it for them to put a note through the door explaining the situation?
“If I had a heart attack, there’s a chance I could crawl to the phone and get help, but at the moment I wouldn’t have a hope.”
He added that the incident had driven his 82-year-old neighbour ‘close to a nervous breakdown’.
Some residents said they had regained service a week into the problem - only for the phones to die again a few days later.
The problem affected both sides of the road and a BT Openreach was working on the problem last Thursday afternoon.
Many were forced to have calls redirected to mobile phones, while internet connection was also down.
A BT spokesman said the fault had originated in an underground cable which provided lines for 50 properties.
An initial dig was carried out to replace the ducting on the cable, with a full replacement being carried out last Friday.
The spokesman confirmed that compensation for lost line rental would be down to individual residents’ service providers.
He said: “They need to contact their service provider to discuss compensation.
“BT can pay a small amount towards mobile charges that have been accrued because of the fault and we have redirected customers phones free of charge.”